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Lip Man 1
05-20-2006, 08:35 PM
This Date In Sox History

May 26, 1976 (anniversary is next Friday)

We recently spoke about the agony of Richard Dotson on the May evening in Baltimore in 1983 where he threw a complete game one hitter and lost 1-0.

Now think about how it would feel to lose a no-hitter on an outrageous scorers decision?

For newly acquired pitcher Ken Brett that ultimate agony almost... almost, became a reality.

Then Sox GM Roland Hemond acquired Brett and outfielder Rich Coggins on May 18th from the Yankees. Hemond needed pitching after Wilbur Wood’s season was ended on May 9th when the Tigers Ron LeFlore broke his kneecap with a shot at Tiger Stadium.

Brett held the record for the youngest pitcher ever to appear in a World Series game when at 19 years old, he was in the Red Sox Fall Classic in 1967.

On this night he was un-hittable. In fact Brett took a perfect game into the 8th inning, when with two out, he walked LeRoy Stanton. Orlando Alvarez (who??) then grounded out, so into the 9th inning went Brett, with his no-hitter intact.

Oh did I mention however, that his White Sox teammates had also failed to score? That’s right, it was a scoreless game entering the last of the 9th inning.

With two out Jerry Remy (now a Red Sox broadcaster) stepped up to the plate.

Remy was fast and with that in mind Sox 3rd baseman Jorge’ Orta played in a few steps just in case Remy had designs on a bunt. On an 0-1 pitch Remy slapped a ground ball that Orta reached for. Orta was in position to make the play but didn’t get a great jump and the ball rolled directly under his glove into left field.

It was then that official scorer Don Merry of the Long Beach Independent Telegram entered the picture. Incredibly, Merry ruled Orta’s botched play a hit!

The almost seven thousand fans on hand began to boo....loudly. Sox radio announcer Harry Caray went ballistic. The Sox players looked up into the press box and began to call out Merry for his stupidity.

Orta was an adequate second baseman...as a 3rd baseman he was a butcher.

Sox manager Paul Richards made one of his few personal trips to the mound that season to talk with Brett who by his body language on the mound was incensed.

Fortunately (in this case) with one out in the 10th, former Sox star Bill Melton finally got a clean, uncontested single to left. Brett got the next hitter and left the game having thrown ten innings and allowing two hits (one of which shouldn’t have been...) A magnificent performance in his second start in a Sox uniform.

As to the game itself. Brett would pick up a win at least, as in the 11th inning, Bucky Dent (yes...THAT Bucky ‘F’ing’ Dent to Red Sox fans) singled in Jack Brohamer with the game’s only run. I have about eleven minutes of audio from this game and when Dent singled home the run, the Angels fans sounded like the game was being played in Chicago. Caray commented that Merry’s stupidity caused Angel fans to root for the White Sox! Clay Carroll picked up the save as the Sox miraculously won their 10th STRAIGHT game! (This from a team that would lose 97 games that year and 15 of the last 16!)

Brett would also have another historical note as on opening day in 1977 he was the Sox pitcher on the mound for the start of the first game ever in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ken (brother of Hall of Famer George Brett) would pass away tragically in 2003 of a brain tumor. He’d never get closer to perfection then on this night.

Lip